Sep 13, 2019 - Politics & Policy

WATCH: The viral moments from last night's debate

Candidates on the debate stage

Candidates on the debate stage. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The top 10 Democratic presidential candidates took to the stage Thursday night for the third presidential debate, marking the first time the top contenders all appeared on one stage.

What to watch: Julián Castro vs. Joe Biden; Beto O'Rourke on taking away AR-15 rifles, and a couple Biden-specific moments.

1) Julián Castro vs. Joe Biden

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro went after Vice President Joe Biden and his health care plan during the 2020 Democratic debate, saying, "I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama and you're not."

Why it matters: Biden, who has been a champion of Obama-era policies throughout his campaign, had to defend himself against criticism and inconsistencies on continuing the Affordable Care Act lobbed by Castro and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

  • Biden did reference his plan earlier in the night, saying that anyone who can't afford gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare type option. 

2) Joe Biden pressed on Obama-era record deportations

Univision's Jorge Ramos pressed Biden on the record number of deportations during the Obama administration, with the former vice president saying "things have changed" since he was in the White House.

Why it matters: Under the Obama administration, Immigration and Custom Enforcement deportations topped 385,000 each year in fiscal years 2009-2011, and hit a high of 409,849 in fiscal 2012. The Trump administration deportations have yet to hit that level. Biden tried to deflect the record with other programs Obama put in place to serve Latino immigrants.

3) Beto O'Rourke: "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15"

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, whose home town of El Paso is recovering from a mass shooting that targeted Mexicans and left 22 people dead, re-emphasized his stance on buybacks for assault weapons, saying "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."

Why it matters: O'Rourke has been focused on integrating gun control measures in his campaign since the El Paso shooting at a Walmart in August.

4) Joe Biden's record-player moment

Asked at Thursday's 2020 Democratic debate about how to repair the legacy of slavery, Biden veered into a reference to home record players.

Why it matters: While record players still have cachet among the hipster set, they faded from most American households decades ago. It's one of those moments that can long outlive an election, like the time George H.W. Bush checked his watch during a 1992 debate.

Go deeper: 5 takeaways from the third Democratic debate

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